Consumer Power and Social Media

In a telephone conversation with Dr. Alec Couros last week, we were chatting about the use of Twitter.  I mentioned that I am beginning to see the power of networking and sharing made possible by this form of technology by watching the use of it by my classmates and by exploring its uses myself.  I did mention, however, that in relation to my attempts to find career development practitioners to follow, my searches primarily take me to Twitter accounts with a primarily focus on marketing/selling (books, CD’s, services, etc.) rather than around sharing and collaborating. 

An article in the Saturday, November 6th, 2010 issue of The StarPhoenix titled “Consumers now influenced most by blogs, Twitter”, caught my attention.  The author, Gillian Shaw, suggests that “nobodies are the new somebodies” in terms of marketing and sales in our digital world.  In fact, Guy Kawasaki, the managing director of Garage Technology Ventures and an employee associated with  Apple’s marketing of the Macintosh,  says the key strategy in gaining customers is “Enchantment”.  Kawasaki suggests there has been a significant shift in marketing strategies with the increased popularity of social media tools.  Traditionally companies had to “enchant” those who had the power to influence – primarily large corporations.  However, today, social media has made that practice almost irrelevant and he suggests, “today’s consumers are more likely to be influenced by blogs or by the Twitter users they follow” and you never know who will embrace your product and share their excitement with their social network via a blog or Twitter post.   Kawasaki touts Twitter as “the greatest marketing tool ever created.”  (Shaw, Gillian. (2010, November 6)  Consumers now influence most by blogs, Twitter.  StarPhoenix, pp. F15.)

This article is representative of the power of collaboration and social networks and a shift in societal trends where the average consumer with an established network can have his/her voice heard.  This is an interesting trend and one I want to learn more about.  It has the potential to be very powerful – especially if channelled toward the greater good.  Our world if full of too much “stuff” and if we, as consumers, now have the power to influence via social networks, I think it is our responsibility to critically reflect on the type of message we want to spread. 

A video around the topic of “stuff” which always gets me thinking about our role as consumers and citizens…


~ by lewisv on November 7, 2010.

6 Responses to “Consumer Power and Social Media”

  1. Great post, Vanessa. There is indeed this shift, thus the rise of the ‘like’ button on the prosumer. Marketing has changed in huge ways, and our actions in social networks certainly have the potential to sell our peers on the things we like, we use, we adopt.

    Btw, I met Guy Kawasaki in Calgary last year – it was kind of neat to meet this marketing legend.

  2. Vanessa, I read The Mesh (Lisa Gansky) not too long ago, which provided really interesting perspectives about how companies not only are using social media for reaching out to prospective/current customers, but how the businesses themselves are become shared/social around networks of people who share common interests and have shared needs. A great read, check it out!

  3. Good post and thanks. I am not surprised that social media is understanding the power of people’s likes and dislikes – the power of networking indeed.

    Friends influencing friends for sure, and now we have hundreds of more friends than we used to.

  4. This is a wonderful post. It’s an aspect of social media and education that I hadn’t thought of until I read your post thanks to a connection from my online class. We’re the consumers, we’re driving the online world, the online learning. WE are the voice, the people. More people engage online then anywhere else. Why not use the power of the people to sell your product.

  5. I had never thought about social media as marketing strategy but it makes sense. After reading this, I thought of tools I use because of Twitter or other social media. I use and Glogster because of Twitter. I bought my BlackBerry on advice from my Facebook contacts. Funny how those things happened yet I never thought about it in this way before.

    Thanks for the post!

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